Noninvasive Monitoring of Suicide Gene Therapy by Using Multimodal Molecular Imaging
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Cells expressing suicide genes can be used as therapeutic vehicles for difficult-to-treat tumors, for example, if stem cells are used that are able to track infiltrating tumor cells. An alternative application of suicide gene expression is their use as a safety switch in regenerative medicine where the presence of a few pluripotent stem cells could potentially cause unwanted side effects like the formation of teratoma. One potential bottleneck of these applications is that information on the initiation of cell suicide is needed early on, for example, when therapeutic cells have reached infiltrating tumor cells or when teratomas are formed. Therefore, in vivo imaging methods are needed that provide information on target location, (stem) cell location, (stem) cell viability, pathology, and suicide gene expression. This requires multimodal imaging approaches that can provide this information longitudinally and in a noninvasive way. Here, we describe examples of how therapeutic cells can be modified so that they express a suicide gene and genes that can be used for in vivo visualization.
Key wordsSuicide gene Magnetic resonance imaging Positron emission tomography Bioluminescence imaging Stem cells
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